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US judge rejects plea for releasing Laden photos

Washington: A US court has refused to release photos and videos from American military raid that killed al- Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last year.

US District Court Judge James Boasberg rejected a lawsuit seeking to force disclosure of the images, writing that the courts must defer to the conclusion President Barack Obama and military leaders reached that releasing them could spur violence against US troops and other Americans travelling abroad, Politico reported.

Judicial Watch, a government watchdog had asked the Defence Department and CIA to release any photos or video footage of the May 2 operation that killed bin Laden. Though the Defence Department said it found no pictures or videos sought by the group, the CIA said it found 52 such records but refused to release them.

CIA cited exemptions to the US Freedom of Information Act law for classified materials and other reasons. And Judicial Watch then approached the court. "A picture may be worth a thousand words. And perhaps moving pictures bear an even higher value. Yet, in this case, verbal descriptions of the death and burial of Osama Bin Laden will have to suffice, for this Court will not order the release of anything more," Boasberg wrote in a 29-page ruling issued yesterday.

"The Court is…mindful that many members of the public would likely desire to see images of this seminal event. Indeed, it makes sense that the more significant an event is to our nation and the end of bin Laden`s reign of terror certainly ranks high the more need the public has for full disclosure. Yet, it is not this Court`s decision to make in the first instance," Boasberg added.

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